Sunday, March 16, 2008

GOING POSTAL - SENDING OUT THE WEDDING INVITATIONS

I'm taking a break from food issues for now, as I wanted to make a point about invitations, since this is a huge part of the planning process.

So we've FINALLY sent out the invitations. Yay!

Talk about DRAMA, though! We bought the loveliest invitations, and then the best-laid plans were almost way-laid by....postage.

I'll post a photograph of the invitations this week. They are (in my opinion--and TallGuy's too!) absolutely beautiful -- very traditional, but also a bit unique (instead of gold beveled edges, we used a lovely copper). We ordered them through Michael C. Fina, from a company called Grosvenor, which is located in England (apparently some of their invitations will be featured in Martha Stewart Weddings in April).

(http://www.grosvenorstationerycompany.com)

While TallGuy and I were certainly aware of the cost as relates to the actual invitations, envelopes, and reply cards that we ordered, the one thing which I wasn't really thinking about was: POSTAGE.

Such an easy thing, right?

Well, we used a very thick card stock - which is beautiful and very elegant - but it ended up making the price of the invitations higher than it would have been---AND ended up creating a lot of drama before we sent them out.

My mom and I had the invitations weighed at 4 separate post offices (!!), and the first 3 times, they told us that the cost would be 1.14 (which would allow us to put on 3, lavender heart stamps for 41 cents each)

THEN, the 4th time we went, the post office said that, if the person processing the envelope believed it wasn't "Bendable", then it would be treated not as a large envelope, but as first class mail, or 1.47 per invitation!!!

The kicker? IT WOULD BE UP TO WHOMEVER WAS PROCESSING THE INVITATION TO MAKE THAT CALL. THEY COULD NOT PROMISE WHETHER THE ENVELOPE WOULD BE TREATED AS 1.14 OR A 1.47 OF POSTAGE!

While a supervisor at 2 different locations said that most likely the invitation would be sent out with no problem (with 3 41 cent stamps), we knew we couldn't take any chances.

MOST LIKELY??

I COULD NOT believe that there was no objective standard that the United States Post Office had to determine postage.

So this would not have affected guests in the short-term (they would have been sent back to us, obviously), in the long-term, things would have gotten pretty complicated. We would have had to basically start all over (in terms of envelopes, calligraphy, etc.), since we couldn't obviously send them out with the "return to sender" stamps on them.

In addition, we also had to re-weigh the reply envelope -- while a very small envelope, I began to get nervous that because of the heavy card stock, the postage would be more than 41 cents. THAT would have been embarrassing, if we hadn't put on enough postage for guests to send back their RSVPs. Fortunately, 2 different postal workers told me that they were *definitely* less than 41 cents. I will not believe that until we get back the reply cards from everyone, but here's hoping!!!

In a nutshell, make sure, when you order your invitations, that you know how much postage you are going to need-both for the invite and reply card.

I had bought these amazing Audrey Hepburn vintage 37 cent stamps on ebay, which cost me an arm and a leg. But because they were 37 cent stamps and larger than the heart stamps, I ended up not using them -- I had thought I only would have needed 2 to begin with -- and I would have needed 4 in the end. They just wouldn't have looked right, in the end.

It's extremely important to calculate correctly--go to the post office once, twice, three times if you have to. If I hadn't been so anal about it, I never would have had the 4th person tell me there was a *chance* they would be considered a higher postage envelope.

Ugh.

In the end, it all worked out - just as everything does. Had I been a bit more cognizant of this issue to begin with, though, I may have saved myself a lot of time, effort, and aggravation. Just a word to the wise...

Stay tuned!

PS-DON'T FORGET THAT POSTAGE WILL BE GOING UP SOMETIME SOON - I THINK MAY. THAT MEANS FOR YOUR REPLY CARDS TOO!!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

OMG! Why was it only one took the time to inform you of something so potentially catastrophic!
That reminds me to budget in postage for my own wedding, totally slipped my mind.
What are your thoughts on printing cards yourself?
I can order cardstock through work at an extremely cost efficient price, but is it worth the hassle?

A said...

Postage went up right before my wedding, too. A week or two before the replies were due. We left the older postage on the reply cards, for two reasons: First, there is a grace period, and it would most likely be delivered as normal. Second, with reply cards, the destination address is the only address on the envelope - so they wouldn't be returned to the guest. They would be sent to the destination with postage due.

It ended up working out perfectly. One or two observant people noticed and added a 2 cent stamp. Nearly every reply was returned as normal. Two or three came delivered with postage due, and we just had to pay the 2 cents for each one.

Photography by Blair said...

Oh my goodness, I hear ya girl! We have square envelopes that come out to about 3 oz’s and the post guy and the website say two totally different things. It’s SO confusing and it would kill me if these things came back to me. What a huge pain in the butt these things are. And yeah, I am so confused about the response cards. I am sending my invites out mid April with the RSVP in late May. But what really kills me is the odd cost that it comes out to and the mismatched stamp issue. It’s no fun to have it all ordered to look as nice as possible, then have 3 different stamps going on. I am thinking about just ordering custom stamps and overpaying a tiny bit, if I have to. Oh brother!

The Wedding Fairy said...

Thanks for all the comments. Much appreciated - glad I wasn't the only one who was appalled by what happened!

Anonymous - I think doing your own invitations (printing cards) yourself is great - it's wonderful to have that responsibility in your own hands, and not leave it to someone else.

However - to me, the most stressful part of planning, so far, has been the invitations. And while TallGuy is pretty crafty when it comes to stuff on the computer/printer, I thought it best to have them done by someone else (even though I knew it would be much more $$$$). I just didn't want that added pressure.

Bottom line - if you can handle certain aggravations (like dealing with the design/fabrication/printing process), then go for it -- obviously, aggravation can happen ANYTIME, even if you have them done by someone else.

Either way, take it all in stride, as I'm sure you will. But if you or your fiance is handy, and can DIY, then go for it!!! I'd love to see them when they are printed. You'll have to post a link to a photo of them!

Good luck!

Lisa said...

Wow!!! Congratulations on sending out your invites!! So exciting!

The Wedding Fairy said...

Thanks, Lisa! That's very sweet. It's really coming up!!!

Dataceptionist said...

I actually got extremely lucky with postage, we posted
150+ engagement invites,
then engagement thank yous
80+ wedding invites
100+ wedding thank yous (other non-invited guests that were sweet enough to give us a gift)
All through my job at the time. They processed so much mail that they weren't stamped or even franked, so they would arrive at the recipient with just an address, and I don't even know how much they cost in the end.
Hubby's grandmother, upon receiving her invite without a stamp, assumed we had hand delivered it (common misconception from recipients) and she was miffed we didn't come in to say hello!

(And I've never heard of postage increases of less than 5c, here in Australia stamps are now 50c incl tax, which is handy.)

Whim Boutique said...

I finally got my beautiful invitations- I had cut it close. I was too busy to get to the post office so I ordered my "wedding heart" stamps online @ USPS.com on May 22nd. They were promoting them as the perfect stamps for your wedding. I got them last week. I put the stamps on my reply cards, put everything together, put the stamps on the main envelops and gave them to my calligrapher to address. I went to the PO to mail them out and buy 2 more stamps since I had ran out for the last invite. The PO lady informed me that as of May 12th stamps had gone up one cent. Of course I didn't know this- who has time to keep track. Also, they were promoting them on their site!!! I went back to the site on Saturday and they had taken them down- this tells me this has happened to other brides. I am mortified- my invitation envelopes are ruined and I am out hundreds of dollars. I know i am partly to blame- had I had time I would have gone to thee Post office and this would have never happened.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the information. I will keep all this in mind for my big day. I also like to point out to all those wanting to save on postage, that it looks really bad if you try to skimp on reply postage and make your guests bother with it.